Wikivoyage:Words to avoid

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These are some words to avoid in our guides and listings. We avoid words that are hyperbole, vague or meaningless. We don't exaggerate the qualities of a destination or venue, and we try to use explicit and precise statements where possible. We omit words and phrases that lack meaning for the traveller.

In general, the desired tone for an article is conversational and informative, lively but concise. Descriptions need to be fair and informative (even if they are sometimes subjective in nature) while avoiding hype suited to an "advertising brochure" for any business, city, or service. Quantitative statements (500 metres instead of near, 5-10 dollars instead of cheap, opened in 2013 instead of brand new) might clarify the text.

Where possible, we try and avoid specific words that may have a different in interpretation in different parts of the world, or are not commonly understood. We want to add local colour to our guides, but we don't want to confuse the traveller with ambiguity.

The words listed below are examples only and are presented as a guideline; ultimately the goal is to omit promotional "fluff" which conveys no information while including basic data useful to the traveller.

affordable, cheap, reasonable
Affordable compared to sleeping on the street or in a five-star hotel? What's "reasonable" for a business traveller in London is a barbarous outrage for a backpacker in Thailand. Preferably give exact prices, or at least a price range.
an impressive line up of products
Factually list what type or class of items are for sale in a marketplace, let the readers decide for themselves whether to be impressed.
...and much, much more
Usually tacked onto the end of a list of amenities, where it adds nothing of value. If there's something more that's important enough to be noted, note it—if not, end it here.
approved by TripAdvisor
Or Yelp. Or Facebook. Or Twitter. Or any other random website which relies on user-supplied content instead of sending its staff out to inspect restaurants and hotels under established criteria.
Or any similar superlative. Unless you've actually tried all the others, this is a presumptuous comparison.
beautiful sunsets, cool breezes...
In individual local listings, not helpful nor informative as wind, sun and climate are similar across entire regions. Even Cité Soleil, the most miserable slum in Port-au-Prince, Haïti, has sunshine. Make climate observations at the region or country level if there's something notable (such as the midnight sun in polar regions or the sun never setting on the British Empire). Laudatory but generic claims which could be made for any venue ("Pleasant breezes, popular sunset venue. Top place for river and sunset views.") are not worth making. If something's on the waterfront, say so, but don't claim one hotel has a regional monopoly on sunsets.
If it's free, then call it "free" and save four syllables. You can write "gratis" to avoid confusion with other meanings of "free". If it's not free, but is included in the price of another item, say so. (For instance, breakfast is "included" at all bed and breakfasts.)
conveniently located, strategically located, privileged location, ideal location
Fluff. Just say where it is, and what it is close to—preferably metro stations etc, rather than attractions. Use "strategic" only in the context of military history.
currently, recently, today, this year
As Wikivoyage should be accessible for future readers, prefer during 2018, since 2018, as of 2018 or whatever the current year might be. A related pitfall is announcing the "n'th annual edition" of a festival or event. "Come celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille on Monday 14th" hopelessly dates an event listing in a way that "Bastille Day is celebrated annually in mid-July" does not.
Can cause confusion, meaning the main course or first course depending on where you are—choose another word.
What does that mean? $100 cover charge? Say so. Invitation only? Say so. Months of advance booking required? Say so. In general, if a venue is totally off limits, there is no need to mention it at all.
famous, renowned, award-winning
These are opinions; without knowing whose opinion is being expressed, they're of little use. A minor award in a back issue of an obscure trade journal is not a UNESCO listing. Likewise, if something is historic (or futuristic), explain why. To appear on a national historic register, it's not enough that a place merely be old; notability is established through archival or historical research.
five-star service
Ambiguous. Does this mean an independent authority awarded five stars (if so, which one? there are many rating systems) or is this the establishment's opinion of their own product?
fully equipped
State what it is equipped with, rather than adding this promotional fluff.
great for getaways
Any destination can bill itself as great for getaways and short stopovers; what makes this one different or unique? Similarly, purporting to appeal to *every* group of voyager can be a vague claim that adds little. "There is so much to see and do. Our friendly, charming staff will maximize a visitor's time and experience in this beautiful city. An amazing variety of world-class, delicious foods complement stunning and unforgettable scenery. Great value, fun for the whole family, ideal for business or pleasure travellers" uses many words to convey relatively little useful, factual data.
Prefer a wording that makes clear whether it is a person (tour guide, tour leader, outfitter, tracker etc), or a written instruction (guidebook, manual etc).
the hotspot for cool people
Vague and meaningless. If a venue "serves college students in their early twenties", "is frequented by businesspeople" (or whatever specific demographic), say so.
State what exactly makes it ideal.
in (city), minutes away from (another city)
Lists of adjacent cities belong in "go next"; if a town is a suburb of an adjacent city, the article introduction and "get in" sections will say so. No need to repeat the info in each listing.
is located in, is situated in
This is a long way of saying "is in".
it should be noted that...
Go ahead and note it, then.
is steps away
This, like pennies per day, deliberately avoids giving specific numbers—in this case, distances are wilfully omitted. If something actually is adjacent to the marina or directly across the street from city hall, say so. Some place three miles beyond the town line is "steps away" or just a short walk only if the traveller wants to hike for an extra hour... each way.
look no further!
This is an absolute cliché of advertisers and marketers, but in a user-generated travel guide that encourages original research, it's presumptuous and ill-placed.
low(est) prices
Instead, provide the prices, or at least some examples of them. "This charming inn offers people travelling for business or pleasure fantastic room rates in a great location" could be claimed by any innkeeper; better to list specific rates, co-ordinates and contact info. Likewise, a claim that an item is "just €99.95" or "only a mere €99.99" is hype which injects the vendor's opinion of their own pricing; simply admit the item will set the voyager back "about €100" and be done with it.
luxurious, sumptuous, true luxury awaits business and leisure travellers
Empty, flowery language. Use a more concrete description instead: what part of the hotel/restaurant/etc. do you find luxurious? Are the curtains made of purple velvet? Is the ceiling painted with gilded murals?
This is meaningless hyperbole, much like "relaxing" or "romantic". Reserve the word for reference to mythology, or sleight-of-hand performances.
a Mecca of dining (etc)
Does that mean the BBQ pork and the bacon double cheeseburgers are off the menu? Restrict the word Mecca to the sacred city in Saudi Arabia, or for destinations with worldwide significance for some category of travellers.
minutes away
How many minutes, on what transport and under what conditions? Distances are routinely underestimated by promoters of venues. Don't claim that Oshawa to Hamilton is "sixty minutes away" if it's 130km on congested Toronto motorways with posted 100km/h limits. Factually state accurate centre-to-centre road distances, or scheduled durations of rail, airline or ferry journeys. "15 minutes from X" can be anything from 1 km to 20+ km away depending on if you walk, drive or ride public transportation; adopt general aviation as a hobby and the sky's the limit.
more information can be found on a web site
Not helpful if one of the project goals is a printable destination guide to be carried while travelling or read offline. Include all key information here in the guide; don't use Wikivoyage as a web link directory.
Is that across the street, or in some random village in the next county? If something is adjacent, say so, otherwise merely provide the address (or latitude, longitude) for a location or stick to actual, measured distance.
near downtown and main international airport
If a hotel is physically attached to Dorval Airport (or some similarly-sized international air terminal), it is not downtown. Major international airports in big cities are built in far-flung suburbs for a reason: their land requirements are huge. See Wikivoyage:Air travel information for writing about air travel.
near all major attractions
In hotel/motel listings, this is followed by a list of every landmark in a town, everything in the next town and a few points across the county line. (A similar tactic is listing the same motel in three or more different districts in the same city.) At some point, these become geographic impossibilities unless "near" is defined as "in the same country". Indicate the property's exact location and leave it at that.
new, the newest, the latest and greatest
As of what date? A place which was new when the listing was added doesn't remain new forever, yet the listing is in the guide until removed. In some cases, time-sensitive info needs to be in the guide for events which directly affect travel ("Fukushima was hit by a 2011 earthquake", "Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Games", "As of 2003, Iraq is a war zone") but these are best used sparingly and dated so that they may be removed when outdated. Instead of newly established or recently opened, the opening year is more persistent information.
our / we / us
First-person pronouns are a dead giveaway that the listing is promotional and written by someone with a bias toward the subject. Travellers don't want to know what a hotel's proprietor thinks of the hotel; they want to know what other travellers think of it.
Utter hyperbole, unless they're going to meet their Maker.
perfect, perfect choice
State precisely what makes it a perfect choice. Even if something is "perfect" for someone, someone else may dislike it.
perfect for romantic getaways
As overused as "loves long walks on the beach" in personal ads (although we may want a "see" or "do" listing for the beach itself). Not helpful without an explanation of why this destination is more romantic than countless others.
the perfect gift
The term "gift" to describe items for sale is vague; "souvenir shop" (or a clear identifier of what's for sale) is more specific. The one exception may be "gift basket", where the giftwrap-style packaging (usually a basket arrangement of local foods or wines) is an integral part of the item.
Used without context, it is a bandwagon argument, that does not warrant a good experience. Could be used in a broader description such as "[County Kerry] became a popular tourist attraction in the 19th century and is still very popular today, despite considerable rainfall." If a venue is overcrowded at times or an inordinate number of visitors have compromised the unique character of a sensitive site, say so.
premier, première, premium
Empty, flowery language. If a place or business is "first" in some sense, use that sense specifically. Otherwise, avoid this word.
According to whom? If this is used for a university with hundreds of years of published research, it is legit; if it is an owner's opinion of their own restaurant or hotel, it's useless.
If it weren't recommendable, we wouldn't list it in the first place. Simply add descriptive listings.
severe penalties
$100 fine? Imprisonment? Death penalty? Be as specific as possible.
Used much too frequently of scenery which is likely to appeal to the visitor—as a marketing cliché, every vista is "breathtaking and stunning", every food item "mouthwatering and delicious", every accommodation "well-appointed and luxurious" to the point that this tells the voyager nothing. Could another adjective be used which conveys more of a specific sense of the place being described?
If it weren't recommendable, we wouldn't list it in the first place. Simply add descriptive listings.
a tradition of service and hospitality
A traveller normally describes a place as it was at the time of their visit, without speculation as to whether the service might have been good in the historic past.
travellers should remember that..., note that..., be aware that...
Good thing we wrote it down in the guides, then.
unique / unique for (kind of travellers)
Says nothing on its own. Use it in a statement what exactly makes it unique, or use a statement such as [Poland and Belarus] are the only places where European bison still live in the wild.
walk to leading restaurants
Like "steps away", this deliberately omits distance. All it honestly tells the traveller is that there is no restaurant on-site. Please list restaurants (with their locations) under "Eat" if they're not part of a listed attraction or hotel.
well appointed
Hotel companies love to use this phrase; travellers are still trying to figure out what it means.

See also[edit]